The ‘Move Over’ Law: Specific Requirements and Increased Penalties

The Pennsylvania legislature recently amended the law regarding drivers’ responsibilities in emergency response areas.

As before, the law requires a driver to move to a non-adjacent lane if possible. If lane-change is not possible, though, it adds the requirement that drivers must reduce their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.

What Are Emergency Response Areas?

Emergency response areas are now defined in two ways:

  1. “an area in which emergency service responders render emergency assistance to individuals on or near a roadway or a police officer is conducting a traffic stop or systematic check of vehicles or controlling or directing traffic”

            or

2. “the area in which contractors or employees of a public utility . . . provide disaster emergency-related services . . . within the first 72 hours after a declared emergency or until the expiration of a declared emergency, whichever is later[.]”

The law also distinguishes areas around a disabled vehicle.

What is Designated as an Area Around a Disabled Vehicle?

A disabled vehicle is one that is “in a traffic lane or on the side of a traffic lane and is clearly marked with at least two” of the following: hazard signal lamps, caution signs or other traffic control device, and road flares. Upon encountering a disabled vehicle, a driver must move to a non-adjacent lane or pass at a “careful and prudent reduced speed reasonable for safely passing[.]”

What are Penalties Regarding ‘Move Over’ Law Noncompliance?

These changes also come with increased penalties and gradings. Depending on how many prior citations a driver has or the extent of the damage they cause, they could be facing anything from a $250 fine to up to five years in prison (if their failure to follow the law results in death).

If you are being investigated or have been charged with a crime, an experienced advocate is critical to achieving the best resolution. Call Pyfer Reese and ask to meet with Dan Bardo.